Summer holidays are tentatively back on the cards, due to the government’s “green list” for foreign travel.
Foreign holidays have been very much viewed as a pipe dream throughout 2021, with fines handed out to those that undertook “non-essential travel”. The end of lockdown has brought changes to this, however, as we’ve been allowed to travel abroad since May 17. These so-called “green list” countries allow travellers to skip quarantine upon returning, so long as certain steps are met (filling out a passenger locater form, taking a test before leaving for Scotland, and taking a PCR test within two days of your return). And yesterday, the Scottish Government confirmed that more holiday destinations have been added to the list, which will come into effect at 4am on June 30.
The full green list is as follows, with the newly-added countries in bold: Anguilla, British Antarctic Territory, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca, Formentera), Barbados, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Grenada, Iceland, Israel and Jerusalem, Madeira, Malta, Montserrat, New Zealand, Pitcairn Islands, Singapore, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, and Ascension Island, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
You’ll notice that puts some favoured British holiday destinations such as Mallorca, Malta, and Ibiza back in reach, along with a few bucket-list Caribbean escapes. However, it’s worth noting noting that some of these nations will have their own rules on accepting tourists, so you may find some examples (Australia and New Zealand stand out) that aren’t allowing UK tourists yet, and others that still have strict quarantine measures. We’re advised to check the Foreign Office website in advance of any trip to find out local travel restrictions, and to be aware that the global travel picture can change suddenly if the local coronavirus situation changes.
Here are the details of Scotland’s traffic light system for travel:
- Green: we can visit these countries from May 17. Arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into Scotland – but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests, halving the cost of tests on their return from holiday
- Amber: we’re still being asked not to visit these places. Arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early
- Red: the places we shouldn’t visit unless in the most extreme circumstances. Arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for ‘red list’ countries which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day 2 and 8 (with no option for early release on day 5).
Countries in the green list will be reviewed every three weeks in order to see whether it’s safe for us to visit, and the government has promised to withdraw any nations from the green list quickly, should the situation dictate it. Many of the above places are on the “green watchlist”, which designates territories that are currently safe to travel to, but could move onto the amber list at short notice.
The traffic light system will be used for the foreseeable future, and the government has maintained its stance that changes to a territory’s status will be determined by Covid-19 in the UK and across the world. Remember: we can now use our vaccination records on the NHS app as a “vaccine passport” before booking international travel. There are also possible plans to allow fully-vaccinated travellers from amber list countries into the UK, although this will be rolled out in stages, beginning with UK residents. So, will you be heading off on a holiday soon?